With one foot in city life and the other planted in his rural roots, Corb Lund’s music appeals to cowboys and rig hands to hipster clubgoers.
“It’s weird,” Lund agrees. “We play a lot of different types of audiences. We have cowboys and aging punk rockers to folk fest people. It is a good mix that just happened that way. I don’t think about that stuff when I am writing. I just write what turns me on. It’s funny because some people pick up on different parts of it in my songs.”
The Alberta-born honky-tonker is performing at the Cleland Community Theatre on Friday, backed by his longtime band The Hurtin’ Albertans sharing tunes off his latest album Cabin Fever, a record he wrote during the dead of winter in his remote Rocky Mountain forest retreat, a hand-crafted spruce- and-poplar cabin, hence the title.
“I was going through a lot of personal stuff in my life and when you spend a lot of time in the woods by yourself you get kind of snakey. I did a couple of long stretches, six weeks at one point there with no running water and that kind of scene. I wasn’t harvesting my own food or anything, but it was pretty rustic,” he said.
Reconvening with his band in an Edmonton studio, they recorded with no overdubs to bring to life the vivid story songs that are Lund’s forte such as the raucous Drink It Like You Mean It (‘nuff said) and odes to his favourite things in Cows Around.
With the blues-rocking song Dig Gravedigger Dig and wily road tale Bible On The Dash, co-written with Hayes Carll, it’s tough not to be intrigued by Lund’s lyrics on Cabin Fever. It is one of the reasons he put together videos on his website called What That Song Means Now. Here, he said, you’ll find “guitar nerd stuff” and the inspiration behind songs like Mein Deutsches Motorrad (his love for BMW motorbikes) and the respect he has for history and his roots in (You Ain’t A Cowboy) If You Ain’t Been Bucked Off.
“Those are fun. The videos are one-third songwriting, one-third guitar lessons and one-third me just yapping about the topic,” said Lund.
Lund lived a cowboy life, with a long history of his family involved in rodeo at the Calgary Stampede. He rode himself, winning a bit of money in steer riding when he was about 11 years old so when music became the priority in his life it was a bit of a shock to his family.
“At about 16 I was doing high school rodeo a little bit but then I got into playing rock and roll music with my friends, so that was when things changed. It kind of weirded my family out because I was into Black Sabbath. I was in a metal band for years called The Smalls, but then when I started writing western songs they started to get it,” said Lund.
Just a country boy comfortable with city life, and his music is representative of that. Lund said not only have they had really good shows in New York, Washington and L.A., he recently was on tour with Miranda Lambert in Louisiana and Oklahoma. Lambert herself rocking a Corb Lund T-shirt during the shows.
“She called us up and asked if we wanted to come out. She apparently knew my stuff and was singing all my songs to me when we met the first time. It was cool, a big compliment,” said Lund.
Supporting Lund on his Penticton stop is Ridley Bent. Tickets to the show are $40 and available at the Penticton Community Centre.